Social isolation provides an opportunity for e-commerce retailers that update their marketing approach


The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic disaster that is negatively impacting lives across the globe.

Despite this, however, the isolation resulting from COVID-19 provides a unique opportunity for e-commerce retailers, if they can quickly update their marketing approach.

With such a dramatic economic change, your status-quo communications with customers need to be updated and relevant. This is always true, but even more so during a crisis. 

People will have less money to spend in the coming months, and your marketing needs to not only acknowledge that, but also account for it.

E-commerce stores are in a unique position to be able to leverage this situation, while also providing a vital service to the community and remaining ethical.

Three major components will play into crafting a new marketing strategy in the time of COVID-19.

1. Compassion

In all communication, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a time of struggle for your customers.

Lead with compassion in all of your marketing communications. It’s okay and even advisable to acknowledge the fear and insecurity that this crisis is causing.

Perhaps now more than ever, people want to trust brands and see the humans behind them.

In marketing emails, use photos and names of your team members, especially the leaders or executives. Explain to your customers how you’re addressing this crisis and make sure they know that you share their concerns, while still remaining hopeful. 

2. Choices

Your most expensive, pricey products aren’t going to see a jump in sales right now — in fact, you’re likely to see a drop in sales for these items.

Choice is the best thing you can give your customers during this time, when so many feel like they lack control over their own lives.

If customers show up on your website or social media channels and your prices are the same, or your most premium products appear on the front page, they’re going to stop visiting your store. That’s a serious concern, because depending on how long this crisis lasts, they might forget about you entirely.

Even small discounts and sales can go a long way in keeping customers engaged and keeping your business at the forefront of buyers’ minds. 

3. Increased competition

E-commerce store owners should expect new competition as bricks-and-mortar retailers ramp up their e-commerce efforts to accommodate the new normal.

Marketing efforts need to acknowledge this. Customers still have options to choose other brands, so why should they choose yours?

Furthermore, this new competition should encourage e-commerce store owners to rely heavily on their existing customers.

Customers who have already purchased from you are more likely to return to your site now that their in-person retail options are limited. Incentivise this return with personalised emails, discounts and exclusive sales.

Be reactive and proactive

The global economy is decidedly unstable right now. It can be hard to know what the world will look like later today, much less tomorrow or next week.

In times like these, marketing approaches have to be both reactive and proactive.

While it’s difficult to be proactive during an unpredictable time, it’s not impossible.

Keep a close eye on the competition — both your existing competitors and the influx of new ones — to ensure your marketing plan is responsive. 

Use your marketing channels to communicate with customers and find a way to meet in the middle. In other words, provide a service or product that can improve their lives in isolation, while ensuring your business thrives in this time of crisis.

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